Elliott is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and Associate Professor at Cornell's Design and Environmental Analysis Department in the College of Human Ecology. In the conceptual domain, Elliott is interested in the aspects of the material culture of the built environment that express a society's set of values as they pertain to the natural world, especially regarding environmental ethics and aesthetics. In the practical sense, as a trained architect and designer, he is interested in integrating appropriate technology through the physical project situated in a real-world context. Thus, making serves as a stimulant for design discourse, a conductor for technological developments, and an exemplar for commercial enterprise.
The project on display titled, Nodes: The Verón Project is a prime example of the practical side of Elliott's practice.
Nodes is an acronym for Nature-centric Outreach through Design and Education for Sustainability. This project involves students in a service-learning experience to design and build community structures for Verón, a spontaneous Haitian community in the Dominican Republic, initiated in 2011.
The concept for this project was to employ a new bamboo-based geodesic structure, a new variation of the "Triakonta building system" developed by Professor Elliott. The building's lightweight and triangulated structure make it easy to assemble but strong enough to resist extreme conditions, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. The Guadua bamboo used in the construction is not native, but it was chosen to provide new business opportunities for local tradespersons. This invention allowed for quick assembly and disassembly of bamboo or roundwood strut components to create stable, seismically resistant structures. It also standardizes the art of bamboo or roundwood construction so that it does not rely on site-applied, ad hoc construction solutions. The components and materials for the building are also very cost-effective, appropriate for use in developing economies.
This design embodies Elliott's interest in material science research and investigation of the effects of carbon sequestration on the structural strength of concrete.